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New Fund for African Film

New Fund for African Film

Discop Africa conference in Ghana in February will showcase many new developments in African Cinema.

District 9 by Neill Blomkamp of So. Africa

It will be the launching pad for Africa Media Rights Watch, a collaborative effort between regional governments and some of the continent’s biggest content distributors, including South African pay TV provider M-Net, Francophone distributors Canal Plus Horizons and Cote Ouest, Next Generation Broadcasting, and the organizers of the Discop Africa content market.

The African market is becoming more and more important for distributors. There are a lot more channels popping up, and a lot more productions, so there’s a lot more at stake.

So says Cherise Barsell, AMRW’s project manager. The body will focus on monitoring services in 10 key markets, including South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal, and will issue reports to rights owners on when their content is being aired illegally.

The International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) and the Pan-African Film Federation (Fepaci) are creating a fund to raise $50 million to disperse as grants to African filmmakers.

Jihan El-Tahri, a member of Fepaci’s executive board says the fund would take a two-pronged approach to developing African filmmaking. Along with raising money to fund projects, it would conduct a wide-ranging feasibility study to find out what exists on the continent, and identify what needs to be done. The study would cover everything from helmers to production services and equipment hire companies. Momentum for the fund has been building since 2006, when more than 200 African filmmakers gathered at a conference in South Africa to push for a strategy to develop filmmaking on the continent. Plans for the fund were announced at Cannes earlier this year, but the organizational structure was only recently agreed upon by the OIF and Fepaci. El-Tahri says the focus of the fund was on “development and training,” noting that on much of the continent, basic skills and technical knowledge were still lacking. “We’re not like the French, where everything is there, and we just need the money to make the films,” she says. “There’s still so many things that we need to do to build the infrastructure.”

Thank you Variety for your informed reporting.

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